Ryhmä-X 1986: New year, new partner

Ryhmä-X 1/1986 Cover
Ryhmä-X 1/1986 Cover

In 1986 the Finnish publisher for Marvel superhero comics, Semic, had to find new partners in order to keep publishing the X-Men or “Ryhmä-X” comics. Since Finland is a small market area, the publishers have always tried to find other publishing companies abroad to even out the printing costs. You see, back in the day the magazines were printed most likely using offset technique, which meant that you had to make pressplates for all the colours (red, blue, yellow, black) used in the magazine individually. Making these press plates was the most expensive part of the procedure meaning it was almost all the same how many magazines you were going to print. With joint printing expenses you could re-use the red, blue and yellow plates and only needed to have the black plate made invidually for each language, which saved lots of money.

For most Finnish companies the most natural way is to search for business partners from other Northern European countries and print the magazine with them. Unfortunately, according to Mail-Man, the other northern European publishers had decided to stop publishing X-Men and thus Semic had to find new partners. They did, from the Netherlands.

The time leap of 1/1986

Unfortunately the Dutch were ahead of us and thus the Finnish magazine had to catch up with the Dutch with a compilation of all the important events. Not only did Mail-Man list some things which had happened, also the comics pages themselves were cut and pasted compilations from various comics.

Essential X-Men vol. 4 Cover
Essential X-Men vol. 4 Cover

Mail-Man lists some of the changes that have happened:

And THAT’S why I HAD to go and buy the comics from USA when I visited there last summer. I have always wanted to know how Madelyne Pryor became part of the X-Men. And since Mail-Man wrote that Madelyne was the sole survivor of a plane crash I just had to find out.

Ihmesarja #8 Cover
Ihmesarja #8 Cover

But now I’m having a bit of a problem since I want to go through all the magazines they have published in Finland, but in this case the magazine is something completely different, including many noteworthy events. So, instead of writing about the magazine in just one post, I’m going to write many posts on Ryhmä-X 1/1986 as I read the stories which were skipped back then, and see how they were handled in the Finnish issue.


The last Uncanny X-Men story published in Finland was # 143 and it came out in Ryhmä-X 11/1985. Ryhmä-X 12/1985 included stories from different Avengers comics, so we can forget that magazine for now. Since Ryhmä-X 1/1986 is just a compilation of many magazines, the next “true” X-Men comics in whole were printed in 2/1986 and included stories from the Uncanny X-Men #177-178.

Thus we are missing issues #144-176.

The Ryhmä-X 1/1986 has small pieces from issues #168, #170, #171, #173, #174, #176, and #177.

However, in year 2006 Egmont Kustannus, the current publisher of Marvel comics in Finland, published some of the skipped issues in Ihmesarja #8. The comic book holds black and white prints of The Uncanny X-Men #145-157.

And then I have that Essential X-Men vol. 4, which I bought from the USA, which holds black and white reprints of Uncanny X-Men #162-179, Annual # 7, and Marvel Graphic Novel #5.

The coverage of the skipped issues.
The coverage of the skipped issues.

Thus I’m happy to say I have almost all the missing issues. But the most important point is that I have the book which holds Madelyne Pryor’s first appearence and that’s all that counts.

So welcome to follow the nearly lost stories of Ryhmä-X!

Achievement unlocked:
All teh comics r mine!

I just have to brag about this. Look at this little cutie here:

Ryhmä-X 1/1984: Cover
Ryhmä-X 1/1984!

I got it. It’s all mine! <3 *lälläslää!*

I still remember it like it was yesterday. We had our annual comics festival Sarjakuvafestivaalit here in Helsinki and I knew the bookstore SS Libricon would be there and I knew they always seem to save at least one copy of each Marvel comic for the festival. The festival was about to open its doors on Friday at 14.00 and I’m known to be always late no matter what – I was even born over a month too late according to my mom. But I did it, I got the tent in sight just when they opened the doors. I knew where SS Libricon would be situtated (they are always in the same spot) and walked in on a mission like a Terminator going after its victim. I searched for the “R” for Ryhmä-X and then saw a young man standing there, right in front of where the Ryhmä-X’s were situated and, mark my words for it, I quite rudely pushed myself between him and my precious (don’t worry, no violence occurred and he didn’t look like he was after the same article) and *where is it, where is it!* GOT IT! <3 <3 <3 I took the magazine and held it, almost teary eyed. Oh, if you saw a woman there about two minutes after the tent opened holding a comic book looking like she had just found the most precious thing in the world. The world must have glowed! …that was me. *snif*

I also bought some better copies of magazines I already had, making sure no one would get too close to me or I’d bite their head off if they’d even look at my Ryhmä-X 1/1984 suspiciously. I also knew one of my friends was coming there looking for that same magazine, but luckily I didn’t have to kill him as he didn’t show up while I was there and apparently he knew to keep his distance from me later that day.

But yes, it’s mine. All mine. <3 <3 <3

Wearing a paper bag on my head

X-Naiset: Cover
X-Naiset: Cover.

And on the same day, I swallowed my pride and went to the retail store Stockmann to buy their last copy of a hardcover X-Naiset (lit. X-Women), which looks like the worst sexist piece of [beeb] this world has ever produced. I had been looking at that book for over a year, sneering as I passed it, but now that my collection was complete… Except for that one book. I had to buy it if for no other reason as to let you know later how much I detest it.

X-Naiset: Back cover
Even holding the book’s cover towards me didn’t help as the back of it had this, even worse image. Hey look, you can see Rachel’s ass!

And the worst part of it was, I felt so ashamed buying it. The women on the cover have their porn faces on, you know, empty eyes, mouth open, back arched giving you a yummier look at their behinds. I felt so cheap. It was like I was betraying my whole sex buying such garbage. I can’t even begin to guess why they decided to publish that thing in Finland. Oh man, I felt so humiliated, so ashamed when I took that book and carried it to the register. It felt like back in the days when I used to sneak in secret to buy my comics. I even tried to make my husband carry it, but he just laughed at my embarrassment telling me I didn’t have to buy it if it was that bad. I even remember blurting out some really silly trying-to-make-this-better-than-it-is-god-I’m-so-embarrased line to the clerk as I handed the book to her. And, thank gods, Stockmann has white plastic bags. Even the thought of having have to carry that monster in a see-through bag would have been too much. We went straight back home and then I buried the book under some better comic books. And the whole time my husband just laughed at me.

By the way, wouldn’t it be silly if I found out I actually liked it? I guess we’ll find out in due course.

But hey, still: Ryhmä-X 1/1984! <3 <3 <3

Collection completed, what next?

Well, there are still FInnish Marvel comics I don’t have. For example between 1967-1970 Kuvajulkaisut Oy published 53 issues of a comic book titled Ihmesarja, which at times had Marvel superhero comics in it. Notice that it has the same name as the later softcover pocketbook series Ihmesarja published by Egmont Kustannus.

Between 1975-76 Tapter Oy published five Kostajat (Avengers) magazines. I have a few of those, but they are quite hard to find and usually in a bad shape.

During my hunt to complete my collection I accidentally got all the Hulk magazines published by Semic which came out between 1984-85, but I’m still missing issues titled Vihreä Mies Hulk (lit. “Green Man Hulk”) which came out between 1981-83 and were published first by Oy Lukemisto Urkki Lektyr Ab, then Oy Lukemisto Omnia Ab, and finally Mail-Man Ky.

Ultimates 1: Cover
Ultimates 1: Cover.

And then I’m missing almost all the Ihmeneloset (Fantastic Four) magazines which came out between 1982-84 and which also contained X-Men stories. Those were published by the previously mentioned company called Oy Lukemisto Omnia Ab and later by Mail-Man Ky. But I just can’t stand the Fantastic Four so I’m really in no hurry to buy those, even with the early X-Men stories.

I’m also missing all the Spider-Man comics and a few special releases with the Fantastic Four. If I ran into them for a very cheap price I might buy them, but as said I can’t stand the Fantastic Four and as for Spider-Man, that’s like a never ending quest. Some of the oldest Spider-Man comics published in Finland already cost 550 euros. Let’s put it this way, the 80 euros, which I finally paid for my Ryhmä-X 1/1984? I think a it’s ridiculous amount to pay for just one comic, let alone pay my one month’s rent for just one mag. I mean, that’s just crazy! (I think I said something like that a year ago about paying more than 40 euros for Ryhmä-X 1/1984, so let’s see if I’ve changed my mind about this in five years.)

Ultimates 2: Cover
Ultimates 2: Cover.

And of course, they are still publishing X-Men stories in Finland and at times Egmont gets the idea to publish some famous stories as hardcover books. Even though I didn’t mean to start collecting those, it seems the current situation is such that it’s going to be the only way to publish anything here in Finland except for those stories which will fit in the monthly Ryhmä-X magazines. So therefore I’m collecting those, too. The only hardcover publication that’s come out lately that I’m not going to buy are the Ylivertaiset 1 & 2 (The Ultimates) since I happened to get them from one of my friends as English versions so there is no point for me to buy them again just to get the translations.

In fact, I’m considering making a shift towards the original English publications in the future. Maybe after I’m done with these comics that I have, I’ll subscribe for the Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited. Could take me a few years, though. ;) So until then I’m going to stick with the Finnish comics.

And hey, did I mention already: Ryhmä-X 1/1984! My collection is complete! Yeah! *happy dance*


(edit 20.11.2012: corrected publisher information for Ihmeneloset and Vihreä Mies Hulk magazines. Thanks, SK. I hope I got them right this time. :D )